Assam Govt. to procure 5 Ro-Pax vessels: Himanta
GUWAHATI, September 17: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said that the Assam government has adopted a Rs. 90 crore scheme to make inland water transport (IWT) system more safe and secured for passengers.
Under this scheme, steps are being taken to convert 853 single engine boats that ply in the Brahmaputra to marine engine boats at the expense of the state government, Sarma said.
With a view to improve institutional framework for water transport and develop ferry services for the people, Sarma on Thursday flagged off five vessels under the World Bank funded “Assam IWT Project” at Lachit Ghat here Thursday.
Out of these vessels, 3 steel catamaran vessels, namely MV Lohit will ply between Nimatighat and Kamalabari, MV Sonai from Guwahati to Kuruwa and MV Pratima (dedicated to renowned folk singer Pratima Baruah Pandey) at Dhubri Ferry Service.
These vessels are powered with 180 HP twin engines and have advance equipments such as control & monitoring, communication and navigation, GPS, eco sounder, wind measurement, life saving and fire fighting equipments.
Two other vessels flagged off will be deployed to enforce the SOP (rules & regulations) issued recently to improve ferry service and passenger safety and to monitor movement of vessels in the Brahmaputra.
In October 2015, the department of economic affairs under ministry of finance had approved the “Assam IWT Project” for development of the IWT sector in the state with World Bank assistance. The project aims to improve passenger ferry infrastructure and services in Assam and to improve the institutional capacity and framework for inland water transport in the state.
“MV Lohit will leave for Nimatighat today itself and the additional two vessels already sent from Guwahati to Nimatighat are expected to reach there today,” the chief minister said while flagging off the vessels.
Sarma said that presently, two Ro-Pax vessels are in operation between Nimatighat and Majuli and once the new vessels start plying, passenger ferry service between Jorhat and Majuli would significantly improve.
Pleased to have flagged off 5 IWT vessels to be pressed into services in Guwahati, Dhubri & Majuli.— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) September 17, 2021
It will improve institutional framework for water transport & develop ferry services, in view of discontinuation of single engine ferry services following the #Nimatighat accident pic.twitter.com/ayfWu783fs
The chief minister informed that within this week, seven marine engines would be fitted in the ferries that ply in the Brahmaputra at Dhubri. Similarly, steps have been taken to procure marine engines for the local ferries that ply between Nimatighat and Majuli. The state government has also decided to procure 5 Ro-Pax vessels, Sarma said adding that these vessels would be pressed into service at Majuli, Dhubri and North Guwahati to ease out passenger movement.
The chief minister further said that trainings are being imparted for boat owners, crew members about safety measures for the plying of boats besides conducting fitness test of the boats.
He said that as a result of the expeditious measures taken by the IWT department in last one week, ferry services have received a major boost.
State’s principal secretary of transport department Dr. KK Dwivedi, commissioner transport Adil Khan and other senior government officers were present at Lachit Ghat on the occasion.